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Confidence, resonance and shellac – how to communicate like a pro

My great passion is communication (after George Clooney obviously), and I’m always fascinated to see good and bad practice outside the corporate world which I can bring to the training room. This month, I’ve come across great examples in unexpected places: on the dance floor, in the nail bar and in my living room. All of them reminders of some of the essentials of excellent communication – confidence, relevant content, clear structure and appropriate packaging. In BBC1’s recent The Greatest Dancer (very good, by the way. Worth a visit to iPlayer) a talented classical ballet dancer performed for the live…

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Pantomime – a blueprint for a brilliant presentation (oh yes it is!)

So the pantomime season is over. The Aladdin’s lamps, glass slippers and beanstalks have gone back into storage; the ugly sisters and widow Twankeys have moved on to Pinter and Lloyd Webber, and the country’s theatres are a little less sparkly. As always it’s been a season of sequins and (varying degrees of) smut. But, sitting in the Bradford Alhambra, watching the inimitable Billy Pearce’s Aladdin, it occurred to me that a pantomime is actually a blueprint for an excellent business presentation or pitch. That idea sent me in the direction of actor/writer Nick Mellersh and an illuminating piece on…

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The greatest gift you can give this Christmas – a question!

Last week I was with a group of 11 year olds in a ‘Communication Skills for Life’ workshop. We were focusing on a technique we call ‘Doing a Hairy Granny’. It’s a simple three part structure to empower children to have better conversations with adults (hairy or not) in response to those killer questions such as how’s school, how was your day, did you have a good weekend???????.  It comprises: The headline eg school’s really great this term, thank you Additional information with something from the heart eg we’ve started Latin this term which I thought was going to be boring…

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Watch out for your non verbals, and don’t stare at celebrities

Yesterday I had an extraordinary, surreal encounter with a world-famous celebrity, one of the most recognised faces on the planet. I spotted her in a shop as I was walking down my local high street. I was rooted to the spot with shock. We weren’t that far apart, either side of the glass window, and I couldn’t help but stare. She looked up, our eyes met and, feeling guilty and embarrassed, I mouthed “sorry” with my hand on my heart, and then “hello” with a little wave and a huge grin. Yes I did! Incredibly, she in turn mouthed “hello”,…

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Enough of the school-yard vitriol – it’s time to grow up

This month I want to rant. But I’m not going to. Because the thing I want to rant about is other people ranting. So that’s not going to work. Several things have happened recently to bring me to this point – all of them symptomatic of a deterioration in public discourse and therefore offensive to someone like me whose great passion is helping people become skilful communicators. You’ll have read the comments made by anonymous Tories about Theresa May. “She should “bring her own noose” to a meeting of the 1922 committee; “the moment is coming when the knife gets…

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